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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

The Story of the Alphabet               83

acquired a new use, and TH served for both sounds At a later date die
breach between spelling and speech widened thiough the interference
of classical scholars in the light of curient and often mistaken views
about word origin Thus debt though derived directly fiom the French
word dette, sucked in a silent b to indicate the common origin of both
from the Latin dehtwn For what regularities do exist we owe far more
to the printers than to the scholars Printing checked individual prac-
tices to which scribes—like stenographers—were prone, when the art of
writing was still (like stenography) a learned profession

ENGLISH CONSONANTS  IN PHONETIC  SCRIPT

I     b as in   bib

d        „  did

11  fed

3?   get

33   hit

99   kit

33   lit

>3   men

33   nib

33   Pit

3     i

4     g
5.    h
6    k

7-   1

8     m

9     n

10     p

11     r

12     s

33 red

33     Sit

13
	t
	as in ten
	
14
	V
	„       vet
	
15
	W
	99
	wet

16
	z
	„
	zest

77
	J
	-•= y 33
	yet

18
	J
	=*•   Sh     33
	shin

19
	3
	=• si   „
	vision

20
	0
	=-th  w
	dun

21
	a
	==th   „
	then

22
	*)
	^ng 3.
	sing

23
	d?
	r~=      J      w
	jam

24
	tj"
	~~ch  „
	chat

Even when two languages which share the same alphabet enjoy the
benefit of a comparatively regular system of spelling as do Norwegian,
German, and Spanish, many of the symbols have different values when
we pass from one to another So spelling is never a reliable guide to
pronunciation of a foreign language. For this reason linguists have
devised a reformed alphabet for use as a key to help us to pronounce
words of any language with at least sufficient accuracy to make intel-
ligible communication possible without recourse to personal instruc-
tion In this international alphabet, sixteen of the consonant symbols
(see above) have their characteristic English values common to European
usage in so far as a specific sound usually corresponds to one alone
With these good European symbols are others which do not occur
HI the Latin alphabet One of them, jy stands for the sound it repre-
sents (our initial Y) in Scandinavian languages and in German, Three
of the supplementary ones are taken from the Greek, Irish, and Ice-
landic scripts (Fig. n) The remainder are inventions.